Scotland captain Grieg Laidlaw will miss the remainder of the Six Nations after being ruled out of the tournament with an ankle injury. The scrum half was replaced in the first-half of the 22-16 defeat to France in Paris and subsequent scans have revealed the 31-year-old has suffered ligament damage which will curtail his participation in the championship.
The Gloucester half-back picked up the blow during a tackle in the 26th minute of the game at the Stade de France and was seen hobbling around before being eventually substituted for Ali Price. Laidlaw, who was later seen wearing a protective boot and on crutches, will see a specialist this week to determine his estimated time out of the sport but he will play no further part in the Scots' last three Six Nations matches.
"The club will now be working with Greig to ensure a speedy return to fitness ahead of a big finish to the domestic season," a statement from the Kingsholm Stadium side read.
Price replaced Laidlaw in the French capital and is expected to be retained upon the resumption of Scotland's campaign on 25 February when they host Wales at Murrayfield, before matches against England at Twickenham and then Italy at home on the final weekend.
"Greig has a big part to play as the captain and the half-back, but these things do happen and we had trained for it," coach Vern Cotter told BBC Sport after the loss to France. "There are other things we can look at to improve on in the next game."
Should the injury to Laidlaw prove serious it could compromise his hopes of being selected in the British and Irish Lions squad for the tour to New Zealand this summer. Coach Warren Gatland will announce his travelling party on 19 April, a date which could come too early for Laidlaw if he is faced with a lengthy rehabilitation period.
Laidlaw was omitted from the squad which beat Australia in 2013 but is considered among the contenders to captain the team this year, alongside Wales pair Alun Wyn Jones and Sam Warburton, Ireland skipper Rory Best and England's Dylan Hartley.